Are you a transcriptionist, or at least offer transcription services as part of your repertoire? If so, do you regularly measure your typing speed? And thereafter (if needed) do you do any self-training to improve your speed / posture / finger placement? If not you could be falling into a familiar routine and not actually be working as efficiently as you could be.

Of course you may be getting through each transcript, billing your audio hours and quite happy with what you’re earning. But what if you could improve on it? Now this is no guarantee! But I know through my own experience that I fell into the comfortable routine trap, and in fact sometimes actually didn’t meet my minimum hourly rate. We all know how to work – we charge the client per audio minute, regardless of how long it took to type that audio minute. But then what I tend to do is work that out in terms of what I’ll actually earn per hour, and I’m embarrassed to say that a few times it’s come in at a rate I most likely earned at the age of 16!

I know the reason for this. Quite simply I got lax. I slouched in my seat, I looked down at my keyboard, and I worked late in the evening without good lighting after a day of doing other client work. I had a typing speed of 75 wpm which I always felt was good enough. I felt I had a good grasp of the English language – knowing ‘bear’ from ‘bare’, ‘affect’ versus ‘effect’, ‘advice’ and ‘advise’ etc, so didn’t feel the need to take typing tests or start any specific learning methods. But actually that is exactly what I needed to do.

I happened to be discussing this (just generally) with another VA who also carried out transcription work from time-to-time, and she advised I do some online refresher programs on typing correctly, followed by some typing tests, to put into practice what I’d just gone over. So I did, and for those of you who have also got a bit lax when undertaking your transcription work, I highly recommend it.

There are plenty of free typing courses online that will help with correct positioning of your hands on the keyboard, but if you’re really serious about transcription and it’s part of your main revenue stream, then I’d suggest investing in some software that you can keep to practice with on a regular basis (when you feel yourself getting lax again!).

Free options:

Paid Options:

There are also plenty of free typing tests you can do to check your speed, and continually check it on a regular basis – why not see if you’re improving over time as well? And if you are, update your credentials accordingly. If your accuracy and speed gets up to around the 90 wpm mark, then whilst you’re getting through work quicker so essentially making more money, you could put your rates up as well – clients will pay more money for quicker turnarounds, particularly if your accuracy can be proven through testimonials.

There are literally hundreds of free online typing tests to choose from, here are just a few:

If you’ve got some alternative or better ideas for keeping your typing skills up-to-date please share them with us below.